How to Make a Picture Pocket Pillow–Beginner Sewing Project 1

Picture Pocket Pillow Tutorial


Here’s my first sewing tutorial.  Hope you enjoy!                                                                            

Materials and supplies needed for this project are 1 each of the following:

 16″ Square pillow

 17″ x 17″ Printed flannel for pillow front*

 17″ x 17″ Coordinating solid flannel for pillow back* 3″ x 3″ Clear vinyl for picture window

 4″ x 4 ¼” Coordinating felt for pocket/picture window backing

Coordinating thread

*1/2 yard or metre of at least 32″ wide fabric would give two 17″ square panels; therefore, two different fabrics would make two matching pillows. Make the back and front using the same fabric if you only want one pillow or don’t want the extra flannel.


    Materials and supplies

1) Reinforce top edge of felt– With felt piece, fold one end of the 4 ¼” edge over ¼” and pin in place. Straight stitch across. You now have a 4″ felt square. The edge just stitched is the top opening of the pocket. The stitching keeps the felt from stretching out as little hands put items in and out of it.

2) Centre vinyl square on top of felt square. You cannot pin through vinyl or it will leave permanent holes. Instead use masking tape to hold vinyl in place, removing just before stitching over it. Do not tape or stitch over the vinyl side parallel to the just stitched flannel edge-keep it open to insert picture. Stitch over the other three sides. Some machine presser feet have an easier time travelling over vinyl than others. A teflon foot is helpful though I have always sewn vinyl without using one.

3) Find the centre of pillow front by folding in half, then again into a quarter and chalk mark that centre point.


 Fold front panel in half


Fold front panel into quarter and mark centre with chalk

4) Fold felt pocket in half and chalk mark centre. Lining up two chalk marks, pin pocket to pillow front, and stitch in place. Remember to leave top unstitched for pocket opening.


Fold pocket in half and chalk centre


Line up pocket chalk mark with pillow top chalk mark


Pin pocket to pillow centre front


Stitch to pocket front, leaving top of pocket open/unstitched

5) With right sides facing each other, pin two 17″ squares (front and back of pillow) together. Mark start and stop stitch points with X pins, leaving a 6″ opening in between pins.  You will not stitch between these pins to allow for turning right side out. Stitch together using ½” seam allowance. Clip corners, turn right side out. Carefully point corners using point turner or tips of rounded scissors.

DSCF0748 (2)

Pin pillow front and back together, right sides facing each other


Mark 6″ opening with X pins


Clip corners–not too close to stitch line


Turned right side out showing bottom opening

Point corners using tips of rounded end scissors or point turner

Point corners using tips of rounded end scissors or point turner

6) Fold or roll pillow insert and stuff it into the pillow case. Fold raw edges of opening in ½” and pin together.  


       Fold or roll pillow into case

Fold raw edges in and pin together

   Fold raw edges in and pin together

Hand sew the opening with a blind/ladder stitch, click on link for a four-minute video showing how that’s done. Voila!  Project completed!  p.s. to see pillows made in different fabrics, click here

You're awesome and so is  your pillow!!

You’re awesome and so is your pillow!!


Teaching Tips      Ideas      Alternate Choices      Bloopers

For the classes I teach, I have the vinyl pre-sewn to the felt in different colour choices (Did you notice in the materials and supplies picture?  I should’ve pictured them not sewn together yet. Not quite a blooper though).  For the top and bottom pillow panels I have an assortment of flannel solids and prints pre-cut for the students to mix and match. F-U-N!

There is no fabric available on the island so I provide it and the cost is figured into the class fee. You could choose to have them purchase their own fabric if a fabric store is handy enough. A visit to the fabric store can be lots of F-U-N! and certainly is educational.

I prefer to purchase the materials myself for several reasons; I pre-cut most of my beginner level projects, fabric choices are extremely limited at the mainland fabric shops near me, and my classes are four hours long–at this level their time is best spent at their machines.

The materials I chose for the five beginner projects were considered very carefully. I ended up getting many at on-line shops and found really reasonable prices. Much of the fabric was delivered from North America and, including delivery and VAT, was less expensive than anything on this side of the Atlantic.  It’s worth mentioning the selection was massive in comparison also.  Type of fabric and look of fabric are both important in my choosing. It is equally important that the material function well for purpose intended and be super appealing to the children. F-U-N!

There’s one blooper in this tutorial…. The front pocket does not have the folded-over-and-top-stitched upper edge. Why? Because it was a late idea after discovering that the felt pocket on my own children’s pillows had stretched out, you know, little hands cramming big stuff.  Definitely a worthwhile afterthought to remedy this flaw in original design.

As an alternate choice, the blind/ladder stitch could be replaced with machine sewing the opening closed.  Hand sewing can be a class all it’s own-a good transition class between my five beginner classes and starting to work with templates and patterns.

More in my ‘How To’ series of tutorials and worksheets…

*How To Make A Reversible Book Cover with Pen Holder and Bookmark–Beginner Sewing Project 2

*How To Make A Drawstring Backpack–Beginner Sewing Project 3

*How Well Do You Know Your Sewing Machine?–Beginner Sewing Worksheet 1

*How to Worksheet 2–Basic Tools for Beginner Sewing



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